Friday, December 11, 2009
Geothermal and Oil Industry should cooperate on drilling
Last week, some of our colleagues participated at GeoPower Europe 2009 Conference in Munich in Germany (more general facts on this link). We would like to share some personal observations and remarks:
The price of ultra deep drilling as well as risks linked to Enhanced Geothermal Systems are two main obstacles of geothermal energy expansion, conclude Geothermal Anywhere‘s representatives, who participated GeoPower International Conference in Munich last week. Effective deep drilling is for the EGS vital precondition for decreasing the costs of geothermal projects in general. At the same time, this remains the prerequisite for more intensive engagement of investors.
If the positive evolution should come in near future, significant research and development must be done on field of EGS, observed the majority of companies attending GeoPower. Ultra deep drilling, which means drilling to 5 kilometers an deeper, remains still too expensive, while using the current technologies, although many of them have been continuously upgraded. In depth of 5 kilometers, the drilling costs start to increase according the exponential curve.
The geothermal drilling technologies as well as hydrocarbon ones are still waiting for some kind of breakthrough, which would bring the end of exponential growth of costs in case of ultra deep drilling.
As we indicated above, hydrocarbon (oil and gas) and geothermal industry face very similar obstacles. For example in areas of Mexican Gulf, Falklands or even Hungary, there are huge reservoirs ultra deep under the surface, which are not able to be exploited effectively due to technology limitations. Schlumberger‘s Jean-Philippe Gibaud, the expert on drilling, as well as the other conference speakers said that due to huge costs of drilling, much reserves of gas and oil are not at industry‘s disposal. The outcome is that the growing demand on fossil fuels is covered by opening new oil fields, which damages the nature. Therefore, the technology enabling to drill ultra deeply would provide the access to another billions of barrel of oil on old oil fields. This could help ecosystems especially in Canada or in Alaska, where the oil industry causes real environmental catastrophe.
The new drilling technologies we would evaluate as a huge opportunity not only in geothermal, but in hydrocarbon industry as well. There is a space for joining forces and doing research together. Therefore, our company Geothermal Anywhere opens itself for cooperation with oil drilling industry. And what we offer? The technology concept, which (as we believe) would enable to drill into depths of 6-7 or even 10 kilometers. Cost effectively, of course.